ENTREPRENEURSHIP / NOV. 21, 2014
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How Businesses can Adapt Their Workplace to the Millennial Generation

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Within the next decade, millennials will account for approximately 75 percent of the workforce. Some question if this is a positive statistic, while others say the concerns over the work ethic of the millennial generation - known for its adulation of social media, smartphones, selfies, big eyeglasses and neon colors - is exaggerated. 

A new infographic produced by Bentley.edu looks at how millennials approach work, even when they’re viewed as "lazy" and "entitled." The study discovered that 51 percent of millennials prefer to communicate with their colleagues in person, 77 percent of millennials say a flexible work schedule would make them more productive and 80 percent of millennials believe they’ll work for four or fewer companies in their working lifetime. 

The makeup of the workforce is evolving hugely, both in personnel and technology. Companies that have refrained from embarking upon change or embracing this adjustment to the workplace may suffer in the long-term as a result of this lack of adaptation. Essentially, businesses will have to transform their workplace in order to attract the best and brightest millennials. 

Indeed, financial analysts and media professionals have depicted millennials as the "lost generation" because of their mounting student loan debt, paucity of job prospects and the inability to accumulate assets, though they are an important market demographic in the consumer economy. What does this mean? Millennials will need an abundance of employment opportunities. 

Here are seven ways to revamp the workplace to adapt to the millennial generation: 

1. Flexibility 

As noted, millennials really value flexible time. What does this necessarily entail? This growing workforce trend consists of employees completing their duties in a compressed work week, working remotely and job sharing. Previous studies have noted that millennials often rank flex time higher than or as high as salary compensation. 

2. Productivity vs. Hours 

In the past, one of the primary aspects that companies would monitor to determine an employee’s value is the amount of hours they clocked in. However, in recent years, productivity has become imperative, especially at a time when businesses are competing in the global economy. Whether you work at a coffee shop, four hours a day or in your pajamas at home, enterprises just want their employees to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. 

3. Cloud Computing

Although offices are gradually incorporating the latest technological advancements in the workforce, many businesses are still refraining from taking advantage of cloud computing. This newest development in the world of computers is being adopted by companies all over the globe because of its affordability and usability, something that millennials can quickly understand because it’s accessible from anywhere. 

4. Purpose 

Millennials don’t just want a paycheck, they want their job to have some sort of meaningful purpose. What type of meaning they want is unclear. With that being said, if a company can revamp their workplace to showcase how important their roles are to the industry or the overall economy then perhaps millennials will be satisfied. 

5. Loyalty 

After seeing their parents laid off from the company they worked at for 25 years, millennials now want to work for an employer who will be loyal to them. Essentially, a millennial’s line of thinking goes like this: "If I’m loyal to my boss then my boss should be loyal to me, too." This can be offering modest benefits, steady workloads, holiday bonuses, inclusion in business decisions and so on. 

6. Social Responsibility 

It’s no secret that millennials are quite liberal and they continually encourage businesses - large or small - to be socially responsible, whether it’s related to the environment, social policy or community matters. Another way to look at this is that millennials may not want to be in the employ of a company they think is "evil" and does "bad things" to hurt others and the planet. 

7. Self-control 

If we thought those who lived in the 1960s were free-spirited, then they haven’t met those born between 1980 and 1994. Millennials certainly showcase their independence, even though they may still live at home with their parents and are up to their eyeballs in debt. Regardless, they want to be in control of their own environment, and this includes their working environment. Studies have repeatedly highlighted that generation Y workers will take a lower salary if they’re more in control of their immediate surroundings. 

Millennials have become the spotlight in generational topics. From consumption to home buying, from employment to education, millennials will persist in being a major contributor to the overall spectacle of life. Before you know it, millennials will be running the whole show from every corner of the globe in the next few decades. So if you don’t adapt your workplace to attract the best and the brightest now, you could run into trouble in the future. 

 

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